The Mother

It is a curious thing, how, even without a child, one can still be a mother.

*Second place in the 'Carry On' competiton


1. The Mother

It is a curious thing, how, even without a child, one can still be a mother. Linda Clara Alberny-Ward knew this better than anyone. After all, she had only had a child for 4 minutes and 27 seconds, but still she was a mother nonetheless.

 The child of Linda Clara Alberny-Ward, in its 4 minutes and 27 seconds of life, had been a girl. Her eyes had been big and blue, and so had her lips, and then her whole face, until the lack of oxygen passing through her disconnected windpipe had meant that her 4 minutes and 27 seconds of life were up. It was a terrible shame, of course; all that life that could have been, should have been, but never was. And yet, what was perhaps more of a shame, was the effect that the child’s death had on the poor soul that was Linda Clara Alberny-Ward.

For that poor soul was determined that, child or no child, she would still be a mother.

Every morning, before the tick-tock of the clock dragged her out of bed, the first thought that came to mind was of a large, innocent pair of blue eyes.

Each day, not one breakfast was made, but two, with soldiers of bread all lovingly sliced, ready to be dipped into the carefully prepared yolk.

A packed lunch would sit perched on the table, always with a fresh bunch of grapes, because a child’s health is important, but with a chocolate bar tucked in as well, because life is too short not to enjoy the small things.

And every afternoon, at 17 minutes past three, a red car with a v-shaped scratch on the bonnet, and a booster seat in the back, would be parked outside the local primary school, waiting for a little girl that never came out.

                Linda Clara Alberny-Ward was not mad, as her family thought, or bad, as the schoolteachers thought. She was not even particularly sad, although her therapist might be inclined to disagree. Linda Clara Alberny-Ward was happy, for the most part. She had her job, she had her health and, to her mind, she had her darling little baby girl. And no one had the heart to tell her otherwise. Because sometimes, just sometimes, ghosts are better grief.

                It is a curious thing how the ghost of the child of Linda Clara Alberny-Ward was still very much alive. 



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